Looking for a:
upper two floors of a house preferrably (or even a full house)
and laundry (or laundry hook-ups)
if utils included, up to $1600/mo
if no utils included up to $1450/mo
Area: nothing north of Dupont, nothing west of High Park, nothing east of…oh… University (okay… not *nothing*… rather, preferrably west than east, SOB than NOB)
Move-in between Sept/Oct.
Any leads? Anyone? Bueller?
Looking for a:
someone (allmusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine) takes indie blog darling Sufjan Stevens down a peg or ten (link from zoilus). I tried to buy into the Sufjan hype a few years ago but the guy did absolutely nothing for me. I’ve picked off mp3s from various mp3 blogs and wind up skipping over them when they show up in my iTunes shuffle. His widely-praised-as-best-album-of-2005 recording, Illinois, was playing in Chapters one day where I was perusing the shelves before a movie. I turned to my friend and said, “You know, this is really fucking annoying.”
“It’s Sufjan Stevens,” he said.
“And that’d be why…”
I find Stevens to be about the same as Badly Drawn Boy, an artist whose first bedroom-produced album is still fantastic but subsequent albums got bloated and heavy under the artist’s own pretentiousness. They both make these big, baroque productions which have the air of something large and important but contain no soul, and worse, little of interest beyond the initial “woah, that’s odd” impact. The fact that Stevens made it onto Paste Magazine’s top 100 living songwriters (not that these lists really mean anything, but…), and in the top 50 no less, proves how powerful the indie bloggerati have become in entrenching new talent without really allowing for historical perspective.
Erlewine makes a great point about Stevens:
apart from the conceit of writing songs about a particular state, there isn’t much connection to the sound or feel of the state in question. Stevens never taps into the musical history of a state — never touching Chicago blues or jazz, or Michigan soul or rock. He simply uses the concept of songs about a state as a vehicle to deliver his baroque folk-pop.
This from one of the 50 greatest living songwriters. I feel the need to point out that Stephin Merritt didn’t even make Paste’s list (thereby invalidating it completely in my eyes). Merritt - who has mastered the concept album many times over and can write circles around the bulk of the top 100 - had he broached the idea of the 50-States album would likely come up with something more akin to what Erlewine notes, considering how Merritt can weave from a cheerleading chant into a showtune into a doo-wop pop into bouncy electroclash with an apparent and enviable ease. But this is just bitterness talking.
Anyway, I’m glad I’m not totally alone in the Sufjan=meh category, and I’m glad there’s someone of greater musical insight tackling the idea than I.
I know they’re not the same, but for some reason I get twee, fey and emo music all confused with each other.
well, I seem to be doing a lot better with the readings-of-stuffs lately, as my last book report marked a drastic improvement over my first book report (but really, these aren’t so much book “reports” as they are book reading stats-ish). This sentence would make Lynne Truss weep.
Book: Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Purchased: July 16, 2006
Start reading date: July 17, 2006
Finished reading: July 26, 2006
Total days taken to read the book: 10
Average reading speed: 20.4 pg/day
The book itself was the equivalent of a chocolate covered granola bar. It’s pretending to be healthy but really, you consume it and pretty much forget about it afterwards. I’ll probably take a bit more care in my punctuation for the next few days, but it’ll fade away again. As Truss reiterates in her book over and over again, Language is continually evolving, and grammar with it; punctuation too, so whatever “errors” I may make in my writing are actually intentional, with the thought of assisting the written language through its next stage of transition. Yeah.
Free-form blogpost. Stream-of-consciousness-like.
I’m often what they (”they” being nobody in particular) call a “perpetual thinker” (okay, I doubt the non-existant “they” actually call anyone that, but stick with me here). My brain is constantly engaged, rarely ever shutting down. I’m often thinking so many thoughts I’d rather not think that I wish sometimes I were a tad simpler so I could find enjoyment in dormancy, alas it is not to be. So when my mind is kicked in full gear, thinking about girls and music and comics and work and bills and a few dozen other things that constantly niggle away (I was checking to make sure I was using “niggle” in the right context and answers.com asked me “Or did you mean: niggardly” - with lack of question mark, no less - to wit I most certainly did not!) it often creates a very distracted and extremely restless me. I don’t remember the last time I had a really good, full night’s sleep. When I was in Windsor two weekends back, I was able to escape much of my routine life and also sleep in a house with air conditioning, so I did get a better sleep, comparatively, but still not a good sleep. Two of the big things that have been taxing my brain was a quandry about love and the other, oddly enough, was The Futureheads (see sidebar review). I know it’s weird to exhaust so much thought on a band, especially considering it really wasn’t me thinking about the band, but rather just being unable to get their songs out of my head. It was odd how often the chorus to “Fallout” would push every other thought aside for tens of minutes (”After days in the dark/The light broke through/And it was beautiful to see you/And sit in the warmth with you”), or to sort of enter a fugue state with the chorus from “Favours For Favours” (”But there’s something that you do/I just can’t help myself/and I wish that I could move more in time with you/I watch you step and I watch you turn/I watch you move like a knife in the water/As you move across the floor/Over to me/For all to see”) only to snap out of it and find I’ve been staring blankly at my monitor at work for an undetermined period of time. It’s really mildly insane how fixated I became with the Futureheads recently, so last night was the climax of this whole build-up, and mercifully it did the trick. I slept last night free of thoughts of sound, instead dreaming of… well, i dunno, bunnies and Wonder Woman or something. I don’t remember. The night before, however, I dreamt that a friend had turned into a demon, so I asked her if she is now or has ever been a demon. Peanut butter before bed will do that to you. So anyway, one major distractor resolved, and the other is resolving itself in a happiest circumstances as well so now my thoughts are less cumbersome. Well, Rooms and I are now in the apartment hunting market after the neighbours said that they’re not moving for another year and are likely selling the house, so that one other worry off my brain but a whole new one on it. And I’m trying to figure out what’s happened to my initiative and motivation, as it seems like all my little projects are nagging my brain and yet the rest of me can’t be bothered to deal with them. This post is disjointed, like Ragdoll in Secret Six. I’ve also lost weight, which isn’t good, considering I’m now on the 100lb dare-to-be-Wolverine thing. I’ve toned up quite a bit, which is nice, but dropping a belt size wasn’t part of the deal. (”Everything was ready but he had to run away/Shot for the money on the very same day/ Le Garage/ Le Garage-rage”… I don’t even understand what that means). VAAAH.
Anyway, this kind of ramble randomness is tiring and I’m hot and sweaty in the priests collar. I think I shall read some comics.
I realized this morning that for the past four days I’d been refreshing the Weather Network webpage for Stratford, Ontario, rather than Toronto (I went to Stratford on Sunday, see, and it was delightful… I have a fun idea for adapting Coriolanus to modern times… plus, Colm Feore).
I think I finally figured out what that wonky smell is in the basement sometimes… it’s the ages old dehumidifier (that overflowed this morning, by the way, since the duct-tape floater-thingy ain’t working none good so much anymore) overheating or something. Maybe. Good to know at least.
If the kitchen smells like hummus, that’s ’cause I made hummus. Help yourself, there’s lots there. It’s kinda tahini heavy.
I really thought I’d enjoy this rhubarb-ginger jam, but, you know, not so much.
Wednesday July 26, 2006 @ the Phoenix
That one word describes exactly how I feel about last night’s performance by Sunderland, England’s the Futureheads. For weeks on end I’ve been listening to The Futureheads‘ latest album, News and Tributes, (backed up with their first, self-titled release) pretty much non-stop. In the car on road trips over the weekends, on my iPod wandering around outside, on iTunes at home and work, in my dreams as I sleep, on my mind when I wake, in the shower as I clean… I was infected with a British invasion that would, no doubt, have me screaming at their concert like one of those front-row girls on the Ed Sullivan show when the Fab Four performed. Though News & Tributes took me a few listens to get into, once it clicked, it stuck. Now, if I shuffle the two albums together I can hardly recall what song came from which album, and every track - every single one - gets me singing along; sometimes chorus, sometimes harmony.
So, with what was, essentially, the hottest anticipated gig I’ve gone to in years, I was certain I would enjoy myself - how could I not? - but still, I wasn’t ready for exactly how good the live Futureheads would be. An early show saw openers Tapes’n'Tapes taking a rather tight grasp of the audience around 9pm. Their highly favourable review and subsequent push by Pitchfork has made the Minneapolis group one of few new indie media/blog darlings of 2006, and the crowd likely had an additional collection of attendees for these openers only. The group performed a solid set, I am told as I had arrived to only hear their final two songs. The crowd, surprisingly thick at 9:30 in the evening, reacted with an overwhelming sea of claps and cheers. I havn’t really enjoyed their recorded material, which has hints of bluegrass, fuzzy twang and garage rock. Their live set felt consistant to what I’ve heard from their album, so they can definitely perform their material, it just doesn’t hit me in the same way it quite obviously hits others.
After a forty-minute setup Dave Hyde appeared behind the drums and began laying down some rhythm which alone already had the crowd jumping. Guitarist Ross Millard and bassist Jaff broke in with a squelching guitar and a light bass riff, followed on stage by centerman Barry Hyde, who broke in on vox and rhythm guitar. The dimly lit stage erupted in a bath of blindingly bright white light as the main chorus of “Yes/No” broke. The crowd blew it’s top and people were singing along, jumping up and down and eager to give the Futureheads anything they wanted.
If you’re wandering past the NorthWest corner of Queen and Spadina and the scraggly girl with the massive herpes outbreak on her face comes up to you and says, “Excuse me, can I ask you a question?” the apt response is neither “yes” nor “no” but rather “I believe you just did” and keep on walking.
I always find the various panhandler approaches very curious.
Back when I was on the 6th floor at work I was one of two fire wardens for the floor, which means I had a shiny red helmet and a yellow rubber flashlight, and when a fire bell rang I would put on the hat and start yelling at people to stay calm and get out of the office in an orderly fashion as well as make sure no one is in the bathrooms. Well, I’m on the fifth floor now and they already have fire wardens, but they havn’t yet replaced me on the 6th (I always leave large shoes to fill… clown shoes perhaps?). We’re having a fire drill today, and I’ve been asked to sub for the non-existant 6th floor wardens. This means when the bell goes off I need to run up the stairs and direct the monkeys safely out of the building. I’ll do it all proper-like, but if there was a hope in hell that even a fraction of the finance and HR people would get it, I’d go bolting up the stairs screaming “PORKCHOP SANDWICHES!”
w: Jared & Jerusha Hess w/ Mike White
d: Jared Hess
There will be those that just won’t find it funny. The nuanced humour and performances combined with the left-field silliness which sporadically rears it’s head in the film will leave many just scratching their head. Comedy is fickle like that. What’s one person’s treasure is another’s trash, if you will.
If you’ve seen “Napoleon Dynamite” then you may already know what to expect with “Nacho Libre”. Understated performances, prolonged silences, extended glares, awkward pauses, strange scene transitions, and some mundane yet eccentric dialogue. Though the two films deal with completely separate subjects, the theme is the same: the underdog; the rejected striving for something just a little better than what they already have, and succeeding in spite of their own level of competence.
Jack Black plays Ignacio, a monk working as cook in the monestary/orphanage he grew up in. Nacho has dreams of a better life for himself, but also for the children. He also dreams of pro-wrestling, which the other friars have deemed as sacriligious, since the high reverence for luchadores in Mexico is often tantamount to worshipping false gods. One day, while collecting the discarded nachos he cooks with from a back alley, he comes across a lanky, dirty, gnarled homeless man with whom he tussles for the discarded food. Defeated in battle, a chance crossing with a poster changes Ignacio’s outlook. A chance to wrestle.
w:Aline Brosh McKenna
d: David Frankel
There’s a scene near the end of “The Devil Wears Prada” that made be smile wide and emit a little giggle of glee. Meryl Streep as the cold, shrewd, stylish, fashion maven Miranda Priestly reveals to Anne Hathaway’s Andy Sachs how proud she is of her, and how much of herself she sees in her. The speech Priestly delivers is, to put it in geek terms, the cold-hearted bitch equivalent to Emperor Palpatine’s goading of Luke in “Return Of The Jedi”. Streep even delivers grimacing smile which sends shivers up your spine.
The movie follows Andy, the humble, good-girl, wanna-be journalist’ descent into the arrogant and catty fashion industry as Priestly’s second assistant, tossing her values and friedships away as she strives to get ahead. Andy is told that if she can survive one year as Priestly’s assistant, she could get any job at any publication she wanted. A little frumpy, a little dowdy, and more carefree than self-conscious, Andy doesn’t fit in with the scene at all. Sense of fairness and equity don’t apply when you step into the big leagues, and there are those who can cut it in that environment, because the end result is worth enough to them, and then there are those that fail because it’s either too hard or it shakes their foundations too much.
Priestly’s first assistant, Emily, wants nothing more than to see Andy fail, while the magazine’s head photographer Nigel (the always wonderful Stanley Tucci) takes Andy under his wing, coaching her through the bitter politics of the world she’s found herself in. With Nigel’s help, Andy begins a transformation that she sees only as survival, not fully realizing the impact it actually has.
I went to see Superman Returns for a second time this week, and judging by the sagging box-office receipts, I’m one of few duplicate visitors. I went to see it at the IMAX theatre in the Paramount (downtown Toronto) because portions of the film were processed using new 3-D technology, and, as much as I surprisingly found myself entertained the first time I saw it (review) the “enhanced” experience was really the draw for me. I was actually somewhat dreading seeing the movie again, because it is a looong movie and not nearly as action packed as most would expect a summer blockbuster to be and I was worried my criticisms of the film would be further enhanced upon repeat viewings. Plus, I’ve been sleeping terribly lately, and I’ve been “living dead” some days (especially by the time evening rolls around), and when the movie finally started (after a luh-hame IMAX intro) I actually felt myself falling asleep. And yet, as the film progressed, I perked up. Even knowing what was coming I was still excited by the movie, the effects, and the performances.
I love Brandon Routh as Superman and even more as Clark. As I said before, he pulls off both characters with greater strength and determination than any live actor before (I’m excluding cartoon and radio versions). Chris Reeve was certainly the foundation for Routh’s performance, but he plays Clark less slapsticky and with more natural subtlety, and his Superman is more stoic and good looking. What I really like about this “Superman Returns” Superman is he has ego. I’m not talking arrogance, but just a good sense of how important he actually is… and the wry smile Clark has when watching the news coverage of himself doing good all over the world. Superman is often portrayed as “the big blue boyscout” which is in part the incorporation of his farmtown upbringing into his character, but I think to do the things he does, he has to have a good sense of inner arrogance to lift mountains or take a bullet in the eye.
It’s true that Bosworth and Routh don’t have many sparks between them, but that’s a flittering relationship for you. Dude’s been gone for five years, she’s moved on and is raising a child. Sure, the superhero ex-lover returns, but he doesn’t fit into her life anymore, plus she’s angry at him. There’s still butterflies, but she’s rationalizing how she can no longer love him. That’s what I get from Bosworth. Routh’s Superman, meanwhile, has probably been holding onto the memory of Lois for five years in deep space, and so to come back and find she’s not been pining for him the whole time is a little hard for him to take (hence the creepy stalker/rubbing-another-man’s-rhubarb actions). Clark, meanwhile, is completely forgotten, in a sense, and Routh really shows him as an outsider, that Clark is the mask and Superman is the man, and not vice-versa as he’s usually portrayed. It’s a different take which works in the context of the movie, and is kind of refreshing for the character.
In one sense, there wasn’t enough Superman action in this film for my liking, but what I really appreciated, especially the second time around, was how subtle his appearances were in the film. Just the random shot of crowd reaction to him flying about Metropolis was quite thrilling, and after leaving the theatre I looked to the sky and imagined just how neat it would be to see that every so often.
The 3-D was kinda crap, however. For starters, the four disparate scenes utilizing it makes for a distracting “glasses on/glasses off” transition, as well, they weren’t the most comfortable things either. The 3-D isn’t your old “popping out at you” 3-D with blue and red spectrum making the pop, but it’s a new digital process technology that utilizes left eye/right eye overlaying which is then filtered by the lenses to create field of depth. “Superman Returns” is the first major release to include the new tech, but since it’s a time consuiming process, they could only do the four scenes and make the theatrical release date. I read about the new wave of 3-D tech in May or June’s Popular Science (there’s a PS podcast interviewing one of the new tech’s pioneers) and it’s pretty fascinating stuff which could reinvigorate the cinema. I still had difficulty adjusting to the depth on screen and how some of the forward field of view seemed out of focus. Apparently “Monster House”, which opens this weekend, is the first fully realized 3-D film using the new technology, so perhaps a full movie with my eyes quickly adjusting to the effect might work better than occasional 3-Dedness. I’ll have to have a look and see.
James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub… classic Eddie Murphy SNL, laugh those blues away.
It was tonight over a steak dinner with some delightful friends/coworker company that I realized that I cannot, in fact, remember the last time I cooked myself a meal at home. While I’m certain it was something simplistic like spaghetti with sauce (or olive oil and parmesean), I still can’t remember when it was, and actually counting the days back I get about two weeks in before my memory starts getting fuzzy. Hot damn. This can’t be good on the wallet. Not to mention that tomorrow the gang is taking a jaunt to the Sultan’s Tent (which, judging from the reaction of this evenings crowd upon its mention, should prove a delightful dining/belly dancing experience).
I don’t even remember the last time I bought groceries. My mother actually picked up the last round that I can recall, and Rooms has been stocking the cupboards and fridge with various comestibles, but I’ve been pretty regimental in my cereal in the morning and eat-out-at-all-other-times diet. Not good.
Saturday I’m finally taking a day off from social calls (I hope), catching up on reviews (keep an eye on the Ent.Etc…. it’ll be packed full of new stuff… I hope) and doing some reading (I hope). I’ve actually got three books on the go. One, “the DiVinci Code”, I’m completely unenthralled by, another, “Those Who Walk Away” (by Patricia Highsmith who wrote “Strangers on a Train” and the Tom Ripley novels) is quite sharp, and the third, “Eats, Shoots and Leaves”, is all about punctuation which I’ve certainly been letting slip as of late. Sunday, meanwhile, I’m off to Stratford to witness Coriolanus, which stars Canadian acting god Colm Feore. I’ve really dug Feore’s work for years (even his cornier stuff, like “Chronicles of Riddick” or “The Wrong Guy”) and I know absolutely nothing about Coriolanus, plus this is my first visit to Stratford, so I’m really excited. Half-price tickets made the car rental decision a lot easier too.
So yeah, busy bee, and exhausted by it.
Sometimes my calves get so tight and/or fatigued that I quite literally feel ill to my stomach. Often it gets so bad I can’t sleep well and no amount of stretching really helps. Could it be a buildup of lactic acid poisoning my system, or is it just some psychosomatic trigger? I often have dreams where I’m running, but my legs are so tired that I actually run in slow motion, more like I’m M.Piedlourde or my shoes are made of gooey tar. These dreams usually involve me trying to run away from something. Last time I had a dream like that I was performing parkour throughout the Montreal Forum, trying to escape Shawn and Marlon Wayans who had been given the task of killing me. I managed to outsmart them (naturally) but in my flight it took me forever to run around the block. It was a fun - but very weird - dream.
A friend turned-recent bohemian (well, he’s still a friend despite his bohemian-ness) has taken to letting his manstink loose in public, and the women seem to be swarming him like blackflies to a bull moose’s behind (!?). I noted this to a ladyfriend today, mentioning how the mansmell wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable of scents I’ve experienced, but she said, “Well, that’s because you’re not a girl.”
So my question is, ladies who read my blog, do you find manstink attractive. We’re talking dewy warm-day man-sweat as opposed to stale, rank, cabbie odour. Is this something you’re drawn to? Or is it at least something that creates a lasting impression (and has there been good or bad impressions?).
Perhaps, like pheromones are used by the female body to attract males, maybe man-musk is the same. And perhaps I can’t tell it as anything other than stink is because it’s an opposing scent and on primal level it’s threatening to overpower my odour and thus my chances of coupling…. Thoughts one and all?
We spend so much time trying to contain, mask or eliminate body odour, but could it be that it is actually what nature intended us to use in our forages through the human sea in search of coupledom?
A coworker left me with her betta fish while she’s on holiday this week for light care and feeding duties. I’ve been a rather pesky host, tormentin with my pen, which I guess from his perspective looks like another fish…I thought his flaring of gills and agitated swimming was just an aggressive stance, like he was going to fight the pen or some such (as betta fish like to fight I’ve been told). That’s bad enough on its own, I know, but I was asked this morning “what’s up with all those bubbles at the top of his bowl?” I didn’t know so I looked it up. Turns out “in the wild, male betta fish make these lovely bubble nests and then when a female comes along, there’s a tribal dance routine with a lot of flashing of his fins and when she’s suitably impressed, she will spawn and he will fertilise the eggs as they are laid.” (source)
Oh my god, I’ve been sexually harassing her fish!
I feel… dirty.
he - “There’s still some scarring from the incision, but it’s healing rather well. Better than normal, actually. Usually I’m seeing this kind of reduced scarring after two or two and a half years, and you’re only one and a half since surgery, so you’re healing above average.”
me - “woohoo, above average. I’m never above average. Strive for mediocrity, I always say, that way you’re rarely disappointed.”
me - “I thought you were going to dialate my pupils today.”
him - “No, not today, but next time. We don’t need to see you for another year though… unless you get hit in the eye at which point come see me right away.”
Hit in the eye? I hadn’t even though of it, and now I’m a little paranoid about it…
All told I was at the office for less than 20 minutes. My actual time with the optometrist was about 6 minutes. It cost me roughly $80 for the visit. Wow… I should have been an optometrist.